How To Liability Insurance

Private liability insurance makes sense for everyone. We will explain to you why this insurance is necessary and what you should consider


4 minute read


Around four out of five people in Germany have liability insurance – and not without reason. There are a number of situations where it can help you out. For example, if you accidentally knock over an expensive racing bike with your bag. Or you borrowed a friend's single-lens reflex camera for the holidays – now it's broken because you dropped it? Or if you drop a box of expensive dishes while helping a neighbour move into a new flat. These little “oops” moments can happen to anyone. And if you break or damage something, or accidentally injure someone, you are liable for the costs. This is where liability insurance comes into play and protects you from the financial consequences.

The Ultimate Guide to Liability Insurance

So what does liability insurance cover? How much does it cost? And can you insure your family? This how-to guide for liability insurance clears up these questions and more.

What damage does liability insurance cover?

Liability insurance covers the costs if you accidentally injure somebody, damage their property or cause financial losses. It can be valid in a variety of situations, including while doing sports, driving or walking the neighbour’s dog. The insured sum is usually rather generous – for example, with Getsafe liability insurance, you are covered for damages up to 50 million euros.

So why is it important to have this cover? Imagine you accidentally knock your friend’s laptop off the table and break it. Or if you spill hot tea on your friend and scold them. Either way, your friend is unlikely to be happy and might claim damages from you. In cases like these, liability insurance could protect you against the costs. The same applies if you park your car and accidentally block your neighbour’s driveway, requiring them to take a taxi to work the next day. In this case, liability insurance would cover you for the financial losses that arise.

But what if it was your own laptop that you knocked off the table? Unfortunately, liability insurance does not cover damage to your own property. It also doesn’t cover any damage that is related to business or work activities – these risks should be covered by professional liability insurance. An exception to this rule is if you are doing voluntary work or earning a little money on the side as a babysitter. These activities can be covered by personal liability insurance.

How much money can I get from personal liability insurance in individual cases?

Usually, your insurer will pay you the current value of the damaged item in the event of a claim. For example, if you bumped into your in-laws' flat screen TV and it broke, you will be reimbursed the value of the TV at the time of the damage. In some cases, you can also receive a replacement value compensation of up to 3,000 euros. You accidentally spilled half a bottle of wine over your girlfriend's new designer carpet during a cozy evening and now it can't be cleaned? Then your liability insurance will reimburse you the replacement value (i.e. the purchase price according to the invoice) of the carpet. The only condition is that the date of purchase is no more than one year ago. Some electronic devices are not included like mobile phones and laptops. Glasses are also not covered.

Does liability insurance pay out for damages caused by car accidents?

If you have a car accident and damage is caused to people or their vehicles, your motor vehicle liability insurance will pay, not the private one. There is also a special motor vehicle liability insurance for damage you cause with a rental car. This is already included in the price of most car rentals. An additional comprehensive insurance with the respective provider will also protect you in case you break something while using your rental car. This is because these damages are not covered by private liability.

When do I have to pay an excess?

When getting liability insurance, you decide whether or not you want to pay an excess in the event of a claim (either 150 or 300 euros). With an excess, the monthly premium is somewhat cheaper. However, this means you will have to pay the stated amount for each claim. For tariffs without an excess, you do not have to pay anything out of your own pocket and the damage will be paid to you in full by the insurer, provided that it falls within the cover you have taken out.

There are some exceptions where a limit applies. For example, damage to moveable property or equipment that you have rented or borrowed is insured up to 10,000 euros. But for these claims, you will always have to pay an excess of 150 euros. So imagine that you dive onto your hotel bed while on holiday and accidentally break two of the bed’s slats. Or if you drop a borrowed camera into the sea. You will just have to pay 150 euros, and your liability insurance will cover the rest.

From when is my liability insurance valid?

Your insurance is valid from the day after you take out your policy. For example, if you buy your insurance on 1 February, your coverage starts on 2 February. Your insurance would not cover damage that occurred before 2 February. If you switch to us from another insurer, you will receive a provisional contract with a start date 12 months in the future until your current liability insurance provider confirms the cancellation. Only when the cancellation confirmation is available will your start date be adjusted. From this date you are then insured with Getsafe.

When do I start paying for my coverage?

You pay for your basic liability insurance immediately for one month in advance. In other words, if you make your purchase on 1 February and the contract is to start immediately, you pay the fee on 1 February. You receive your contract with your first purchase. Any extensions are always paid on the same date as your first purchase (however, the coverage is only valid from the next day). If you add the drone liability extension to your coverage on 15 February, you pay for the basic module and the drone extension for one month in advance on 1 March. On this date, you will also pay for the drone coverage for the period from 15 February to 1 March.

Can I take out Getsafe liability insurance if I’m not a German citizen?

Yes. As long as your main residence is in Germany, you can get our personal liability insurance even if you don’t have German citizenship.

How can I insure against damage caused by my drone?

Since 2005, drone insurance has been mandatory in Germany. With our drone liability extension, casual drone pilots can insure drones weighing up to 5 kilos. So if the wind causes the drone to collide with a car, the insurance will cover damages of up to 50 million euros worldwide. If you have a drone and want to find out more, check out our how-to guide for drone insurance.

What does liability insurance cost?

The monthly premium for your liability insurance is based on four factors. If you choose the more extensive family tariff, you pay a little more. The monthly premium is cheaper if you are prepared to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim. If you have filed liability claims with an insurance company in the past, this could also affect your premium. Finally, your place of residence also plays a role. This is why we ask you for your postcode.

Here’s an example: You live in Cologne and are getting liability insurance for the first time. You don’t need to insure a drone or extend your cover to other family members, and you choose not to pay an excess. In this case, you would pay 4.23 euros per month for your liability insurance. If you chose an excess of 150 euros, this would decrease your monthly premium to 3.38 euros. If you later need to insure a drone, you can simply add our drone extension in a few clicks and your premium will rise to 3.55 euros.

Is my liability insurance cover also valid when I am abroad?

Yes, you have worldwide protection. Outside of Europe, you are covered for up to five years. Within Europe, it is unlimited.

Can I also insure my family or my partner?

You can choose to get liability insurance just for yourself or select the family tariff. With the family tariff, you can also insure anyone who shares a household with you – even if they only live with you temporarily, such as an au pair. In addition to your life partner or your parents (in-law), roommates are also insured, provided they are officially registered at your address. Do you want to extend your liability insurance to your family at a later date? Simply write an email to our customer service. We will then change your tariff.

Does liability insurance protect me if the damage is caused by an animal?

Personal liability insurance covers damage caused by a domestic animal, such as your cat or rabbit. It even covers bees! So if your cat scratches the new garden furniture in your neighbour's garden, the liability insurance pays for the damage. So long as they are not used for agricultural purposes, goats and sheep are covered. Even small exotic animals such as spiders or snakes can be covered by the liability insurance as well.

But what if you have a dog? These four-legged friends need their own extra insurance called dog liability insurance. If you own a horse, it is not covered by personal liability insurance. However, if you are taking care of a friend’s dog or if somebody has lent you their horse, personal liability insurance will cover you in the event of damage – unless you are a commercial dog sitter or professional horse rider.

Am I protected against uninsured third parties?

You can also benefit from liability insurance if a third party injures you or damages your property. For example, imagine you’re out with your racing bike and a careless passer-by causes you to fall and damage your bike. If the passer-by doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t have the money to pay for the damages, then your liability insurance covers the cost for you. This is called ‘bad debt protection’.

Does liability insurance cover me when I’m doing a favour for someone?

If you accidentally cause damage while helping someone, not all insurers will cover you. With Getsafe it’s different. We also cover this kind of damage up to 50 million euros. So if you drop your mate’s plasma TV while helping them move house, this damage is covered by your insurance.

Does liability insurance pay if I lose my keys?

If you lose the key to an apartment building, it can be expensive. Replacing multiple locks in an apartment building can cost 20,000 euros or more. But that’s no problem if you have liability insurance. Getsafe covers damage caused by key loss up to a maximum of 300,000 euros. However, you should take particular care with your office keys – these are not covered by personal liability insurance.

Do you have any questions on this topic? Just contact our customer service. We are always happy to advise you.

Stay safe!

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Author: Carina